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Over at his Law Sites blog, Bob Ambrogi mounts to high horse to complain about a practice common to many bloggers: reprinting large portions of other articles, often with limited or even no attribution. Ambrogi notes that fair use notwithstanding, use of large portions of publication could run afoul of copyright law. One of the commenters also notes that a blogger who lifts material without attribution might be committing plagiarism. But beyond these problems, there's also the question of transparency of sources -- and Ambrogi offers a cure. From the post:

my belief is that bloggers should be fully transparent about their sources. The blogs I describe above could take a few small steps to remedy their lack of transparency. Assuming they have proper permission to reprint these articles, they should:

    * Insert an editor's note at the top of the post identifying the source. This need not be overly formal, just something along the lines of, "Here is an article from Law.com that I thought you'd find interesting. It was written by John Lawyer and is reprinted here with permission."
    * Use quotation marks, indentation or some typographical device to distinguish quoted text from your own comments.
    * Include a link back to the original article.

Of course, Ambrogi concludes by commenting that he prefers bloggers to excerpt "tantalizing tidbits" from the original article and then link back to the full text rather than quote the whole article itself. I agree. A good blog post, after all, isn't a carbon copy of something that's been written before, whether attributed or not. 

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 21, 2007 at 06:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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